Imagine having two tumors on your body, but you couldn’t do anything to remove them until you’re at least sixteen or seventeen years old. They are huge, plain as day, and just get in the damn way all of the time. You cross your arms, and you feel them pressing against your forearms. When you go to shower, you take off your shirt and you scrunch up your face and cringe at the sight of them in the mirror, massive and squishy; absolutely disgusting. When you shower, you keep your sight to the wall, and you don’t look down. And when you’re done, you skip the mirror and go right to the towel and the robe to dry off and dress in your pajamas, just wanting to read and get your mind off of these appalling growths.
Imagine having to bind down these tumors. Having to press them down with ace bandages, duct tape, or another type of material that may not be as safe, or safer, even. Having to keep these bindings on all day while you work or go to school, and if you have sports or such after school, you have to keep them on even then. And when you get home, you can finally take them off and breathe. You can just flop down on your bed without clothing, curl up in your blankets, and sleep; forget about the world for a little while and escape to your dreams.
On top of these annoying, bothersome tumors, you are missing a limb. Imagine missing a few toes. Or a few fingers. Maybe even your whole foot or arm up to the little nubby base. It’s outlandish to not have this limb, even though your mind is registering that you should. It’s the same with the tumors. Your mind is saying you should have these things, though your body which you reside in, your vessel, doesn’t. You’re lacking in these attributes, and it takes a toll on your mental health. Maybe even your physical health, if you mold, push down this tumors into something you wish for them to be; gone. You may break your bones from this binding, you may restrict your breathing and get bruising on your bones that will stop you from being able to bind these bothersome growths down for days, weeks, even.
Imagine your name was Daniel. This name is you, and you feel comfortable being called this. You feel confident with this name, for it matches you and you feel like a Daniel. Any other name just wouldn’t feel right.
Now, imagine people calling you Sierra rather than your preferred name which you are comfortable with. Imagine people calling you “it.” Treating you as an object instead of a human. Imagine someone seeing you only as Sierra, even if you do mold those tumors down with sticky, thick, dangerous duct tape and hobble around without this limb.
Imagine people asking you why you’re missing this limb, why you have these tumors hanging off of your skin, these sacs of unwanted fat that you just want removed. Because of these additions and losses from your body, these people calling you Sierra and “it”, you want to die. You would rather put a knife to your throat and stare down at a busy highway with cars speeding back and forth, contemplating on teetering over the edge and watching the ground, those speeding cars on the way to their jobs with real people driving them, coming closer and closer to your face. And one unlucky person gets your body smack dab on their windshield in a mixture of blood and flesh, broken glass and plastic spewing everywhere as they steer off the road and into the cement blocker in the middle of the highway, maybe even killing themselves also. Hey, at least someone went down with you.
Imagine having to deal with this every single day. All of this “Sierra, what’s the answer?”
Sierra, what’s today’s homework?
Sierra, please come after school today.
Sierra, can I borrow a few dollars?
Sierra. Sierra. Sierra.
They call you “it.” They call you “she.”
It wants to cut its hair.
It wants to copy my homework.
Oh, look, its crying.
It. It. It.
But you are neither an it or Sierra. Nor are you a she.
Imagine feeling like an outcast, being alone and not knowing where to go. It’s like being stuck in a mirror maze, and you hate mirrors. You can’t find a way out, and you’re forced to stare at yourself until you lose your mind or commit suicide. And if you’re lucky, you are saved. Glass is broken around you, and even if some of the shards cut and scar you, even if some of these razor sharp shards marr your skin and mutilate you, you are saved and there’s a friend’s hand, a family’s hand, pulling you out of this maze and into the light, back into the swing of daily life.
For some, there is no savior.
For some, there is a savior.
Take this all in. Read it again and put yourself in this situation. Read it until it gets drilled into your mind and you sink into this feeling.
This is what it’s like to be a female to male transgender individual.